March Madness Notebook: Previewing Three New England Matchups

NS March Madness 2019

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

The March Madness field is set after the conclusion of last nights ‘first four’ contests.

In case you missed it Farleigh Dickinson, Belmont, Arizona State, and North Dakota State punched tickets to the big dance.

The tournament will start today with Louisville and Minnesota tipping-off in Des Moines, Iowa at 12:15 p.m.

Looking around New England there are three teams with high hopes to be one of the Cinderella teams. Here’s a close up look at the three teams and the first round matchups.


No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale: Yale picked up the Ivy League’s automatic bid with a decisive 97-85 win over arch rival Harvard in the conference championship final last weekend.

The Bulldogs are the real deal and could cause problems for LSU with a veteran lineup and an explosive offense led by Ivy League Player of Year Miye Oni, who enters today’s contest averaging 17.6 points per game. Oni is projected by many to be a second-round NBA draft pick and if the dynamic point guard is allowed to control tempo this game could result in a win for the Blue and White.

LSU is one of the country’s most athletic and talented squads and most deserving of the third seed, as well. However, there are questions and controversy surrounding the Tigers because they had a first-round flameout in the SEC tournament and their head coach Will Wade is embroiled in an FBI recruiting investigation.

LSU and Yale will meet in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon where the Bulldogs will attempt to improve to 2-0 in the Sunshine State after rallying to beat Miami last December at the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena.


No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont: Gotta love the Catamounts who play in basketball-crazy Burlington, Vermont.

UVM is led by junior Anthony Lamb, who averages 21.4 points per game – expect Lamb to be a factor in his team’s early afternoon clash, as well as the team’s lockdown defense which may give the ‘Noles trouble in the opening minutes.

Florida State is playing excellent basketball having defeated Virginia is the ACC tournament before losing to Duke in the title game.

Many feel Leonard Hamilton’s squad has the length, athleticism, and skill to go all the way but will patience or lack thereof cause them to stumble under tournament pressure? Either way, I like the ‘Noles to win this contest but it won’t be easy.


No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern: Bill Cohen‘s Huskies punched their ticket to the big dance with a solid 82-74 takedown over Hofstra in the CAA title game last week.

Northeastern’s explosive point guard Vasa Pusica led the way with 21 points on seven three-pointers. The Huskies are one of the country’s top three-point shooting teams and if they can adjust to the change in elevation in Salt Lake City then it may cause the Jayhawks some trouble.

This past season hasn’t been one of Bill Self’s better teams which saw its record of 14 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles come to an end. Injuries have plagued Kansas and as a result, Self has been forced to play a bunch of first-year players.

The Huskies with Pusica at the controls will make life difficult for one of college basketball’s elite programs but in the end, I like Kansas.


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England basketball coverage on Twitter @Noontime_Hoops 

WACBA Reveals 2018-19 All-Star Selections

WACBA SOCIAL 1

By WACBA Hoops | @WACBAHoops 

WORCESTER, Mass. – Nichols College senior Marcos Echevarria and Holy Cross junior Lauren Manis have repeated as the Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Players of the Year, as revealed on Wednesday in Jen Toland’s weekly college column.

The announcement also features the annual All-Stars, Rookies of the Year and Coaches of the Year as voted upon by sports information directors or primary contacts from each of the nine NCAA schools in Worcester County, including Division I Holy Cross and Division II Assumption College, as well as members of the local media.

Echevarria claimed the hardware for the third consecutive year while it was also a threepeat for the Bison with first-year head coach Scott Faucher earning Coach of the Year accolades. Assumption’s Cal Connelly, meanwhile, became the second Greyhound in as many years to secure Rookie of the Year honors. For the women, Manis narrowly missed out on a perfect ballot while fellow Crusader Avery LaBarbera was named as the Rookie of the Year, and Worcester State’s Karen Tessmer was selected as the Coach of the Year.

Nichols’ DeAnte Bruton and Matt Morrow joined Echevarria on the first team, as did Anna Maria’s Mike Rapoza, Becker’s Kareem Davis, and Holy Cross’ Jehyve Floyd. The second team was comprised of Fitchburg State’s Nicholas Tracy, Worcester State’s Tyler Dion, Assumption’s Matthew Kelley, Clark’s Tyler Davern, and WPI’s Jake Wisniewski and Reid Walker.

Manis and LaBarbera along with Worcester State’s Brittany Herring, Assumption’s Morgan O’Donnell, Fitchburg State’s Angelina Marazzi, and Becker’s Adrianna Dowdy were named to the first team. Clark’s Ogechi Ezemma, Anna Maria’s Amber Wilson, Becker’s Cassidy Harrison, Fitchburg State’s Catherine Coppinger, as well as, Worcester State’s Catherine Sweeney and Kaitlyn Berkel landed on the second team.

This year’s Paul N. Johnson and Pat Oroszko Courage Award recipients will be announced at a later date.

WACBA (Worcester Area College Basketball Association) is an organization billed as “one of its kind in the country” featuring nine colleges, 18 programs plus sports information directors and media members to foster friendships and camaraderie along with promoting the GREAT GAME OF BASKETBALL throughout the TRADITION RICH Worcester County Area.

Follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter | Regular Season Stats and Standings

 MEN‘S ALL-STARS

Player of the Year: Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.), Nichols (third consecutive)
Rookie of the Year: Cal Connelly (Rochester, N.H.), Assumption (back-to-back for Greyhounds)
Coach of the Year: Scott Faucher, Nichols (third consecutive for a Bison head coach)

First Team
Nichols College Marcos Echevarria*# Lynn, Mass. Sr.
Nichols College DeAnte Bruton*# New London, Conn. Jr.
Anna Maria Mike Rapoza*# Charlton, Mass Jr.
Becker College Kareem Davis^# Lowell, Mass. Sr.
Holy Cross Jehyve Floyd# Sayreville, N.J. Sr.
Nichols College Matt Morrow Leicester, Mass. So.
Second Team
Fitchburg State Nicholas Tracy Indianapolis, Ind. Jr.
Worcester State Tyler Dion Barre, Mass. Jr.
WPI Jake Wisniewski West Brookfield, Mass. Jr.
WPI Reid Walker Lithia, Fla. So.
Assumption College Matthew Kelly& No. Potomac, Md. So.
Clark University Tyler Davern Webster, Mass. So.

 WOMEN‘S ALL-STARS

Player of the Year: Lauren Manis (Franklin, Mass.), Holy Cross (back-to-back)
Rookie of the Year:
 Avery LaBarbera, Holy Cross
Coach of the Year: 
Karen Tessmer, Worcester State

First Team
Holy Cross Lauren Manis*# Franklin, Mass. Jr.
Worcester State Brittany Herring*# West Brookfield, Mass. Sr.
Assumption College Morgan O’Donnell# Easton, Mass. Sr.
Fitchburg State Angelina Marazzi& Manchester, N.H. Jr.
Holy Cross Avery LaBarbera Harrison, N.Y. Fr.
Becker College Adrianna Dowdy& East Haven, Conn. Sr.
Second Team
Clark University Ogechi Ezemma*& Hope Valley, R.I. Sr.
Anna Maria Amber Wilson New York, N.Y. So.
Becker College Cassidy Harrison*# Foxborough, Mass. Jr.
Worcester State Catherine Sweeney& Lowell, Mass. Jr.
Worcester State Kaitlyn Berkel Waterford, Conn. Sr.
Fitchburg State Catherine Coppinger Boston, Mass. Jr.

* 2017 First Team
^ 2017 Second Team
# 2018 First Team
& 2018 Second Team

D3 Football: WPI Announces Captains For 2019 Season

WPI_Engineers_Logo_By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

We may be a few months away from a brand new season of New England D3 football, but more news of captains announcements was made earlier this week when WPI unveiled its three student-athletes that will be leading the Engineers in 2019.

As seen on the team’s Instagram account, halfback Sean McAllen, defensive back Sam Casey, and linebacker Nick Ostrowski were each named captain for the 2019 season.

All three were members of the 2018 squad, which finished 6-4 overall, including 4-3 in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play.

Similar to our recent posts about teams’ football captains for the 2019 season, here is some information on all three student-athletes that will be tasked with leading the Engineers next fall.

  • Sean McAllen (Halfback | Prospect, Conn.): McAllen concluded the 2018 season with 576 rushing yards on 144 carries (64.0 yards per contest) and nine rushing touchdowns while hauling in a pair of scores on 17 receptions for 223 receiving yards. McAllen ended the season as on the Worcester Area Football Association’s second team, while also earning first-team all-conference from the NEWMAC.
  • Sam Casey (Defensive Back | Winchester, Mass.): The Winchester native posted a career-high 65.0 total tackles last fall, including a career-best 23 assists. He concluded the 10 game schedule with 42 solo stops, seven tackles shy of matching his career-high of 49, which he recorded during the 2017 season. Additionally, Casey recorded three tackles for a loss and a trio of interceptions, along with a pair of pass break-ups. For his effort, Casey was tabbed first-team all-conference by the NEWMAC, while also earning a spot on the Worcester Area Football Association’s first-team defense.
  • Nick Ostrowski (Linebacker | Charlton, Mass.): Ostrowski concluded his team’s 2018 campaign with a career-best 76.0 total tackles, along with a career-high 36 assists. The Charlton native tallied 40 solo stops, while also recording four tackles for a loss for 29 yards and two forced fumbles. Ostrowski was named first-team all-conference by the NEWMAC and earned a first-team nod on defense from the Worcester Area Football Association.

Stay connected with our Noontime Sports football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB. 

Noontime Hoops Notebook: Whitney’s March Madness Primer

Noontime Hoops Notebook

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob 

Well, it’s time to get the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament underway after Sunday’s selection committee announced the top seeds and brackets for the 68 team field.

There were no surprises at the top with Duke receiving the top seed along with Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga.

Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans made a very impressive last-second push for consideration but it was too little – too late. Izzo is a master at preparing his team for March and the Spartans enter the tournament playing some of the best basketball in the country.

Realistically, Michigan State is one of seven or eight teams with a shot to claim the 2019 crown in Minneapolis.

Tennessee and Kentucky were in the conversation but their season-long body of work fell a tad short when compared to Duke, Virginia, Carolina and the Zags.

John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines, who were the runner up to Villanova in 2018, would be the other squad with a legitimate chance at advancing to the championship game.

The tournament gets started this evening in Dayton, Ohio with ‘first four’ action featuring Farleigh Dickinson (20-13) versus Prairie View A&M (22-12) followed by Belmont (26-5) and Temple (23-9).

The other ‘first four’ concludes on Wednesday with NC Central (18-15) versus ND State (18-15) followed by Arizona State (22-10) against St. John’s (21-12).

The Belmont/Temple matchup is perhaps the most interesting of all the ‘first four’ games. Belmont could be this year’s Cinderella team in the tournament. Temple enters with plenty of emotion on its side as coach Fran Dunphy prepares to write the final chapter on what is likely to be a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Here is an early look at some of the key matchups in each region, exciting players to watch, potential Cinderella teams, and much more.

East Region Preview: Duke, with a healthy Zion Williamson, is the odds-on favorite to win the region, however, Michigan State and Virginia Tech (the Hokies outstanding point guard Justin Robinson is expected back for the tournament) just might get in the way of the Blue Devils bid for Coach K’s sixth national title.

If Duke has an Achilles heel it would be outside shooting.

Two first-round games to watch would be Mississippi State/ Liberty and LSU/Yale.

Liberty under coach Richie Mackay (and a former assistant under Tony Bennett at UVA) sport a stingy defense that could pose problems for Mississippi State. Controversy surrounds a very athletic and talented LSU squad with coach Will Wade embroiled in a recruiting scandal.

Ivy League tournament champ Yale is the real deal so this game is on the upset watch list.

If Belmont gets by Temple they could be a team to watch along with Louisville who has surprised most in the ACC under first-year Coach Chris Mack.

Whitney’s Prediction: Duke and Michigan State will meet in the east final.

West Region Preview: Gonzaga is the top seed with Michigan close behind in a region where most teams enter the tournament with more questions than answers.

Florida State has the talent to advance to the regional final, particularly after they raised a few eyebrows by easily defeating Virginia in the ACC tournament semifinals. But the ‘Noles have been inconsistent and will be challenged to raise their level of play, especially shooting from beyond the arc. The Buffalo Bulls, with an experienced senior-laden lineup, could be the surprise team in the region.

A first-round matchup to keep your eye on would be Marquette/Murray State. The contest pits two of the most explosive players in the country in Marquette’s Markus Howard and Murray State’s Ja Morant. Both are capable of going for 40 points on any given night. Morant has been tabbed a mini Zion Williamson so get ready to hold your breath as these two go head-to-head on Thursday in Hartford.

Whitney’s Prediction: Florida State and Michigan will advance to the west final.

South Region Preview: Top-seeded Virginia is front and center as the Hoos seek to erase the stain from last’s first-round flameout to UMBC.

On paper, this region appears to be stacked in Virginia’s favor as most of the contenders play a slower, defensive-oriented style which is right up Virginia’s alley.

Kansas State may pose a mild challenge to the Hoos but the road to the regional final is wide open for Virginia’s redemption tour bus. If you haven’t seen him catch a peek at Virginia’s All American guard Kyle Guy, who can drain three’s with his eyes closed.

Tennessee and Purdue should battle it out for the chance to face Virginia in the final with a possible challenge from Mitch Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be Virginia and Purdue in the south final.

Midwest Region Preview: This region could have the most drama and surprises of all the four regions.

I like Carolina and I also believe that this is one of Roy Williams best coaching jobs in his Hall of Fame career. The Tar Heels have the horsepower to get to Minneapolis provided they continue to defend at a high level and eliminate costly turnovers. Many are looking ahead to a Carolina/Kansas battle of blue blood programs, but the Jayhawks have been playing poorly and may not get past a first-round date against Billy Coen’s Northeastern Huskies.

Auburn is coming off a spectacular run in the SEC tournament. The knock on the Tigers is that they often play with far less energy than their coach exudes on the sidelines.
Kentucky and Houston should compete for the chance to face Carolina in the final.

Wofford and Seton Hall should be an intriguing first round battle. Both teams are capable of beating anyone in the country and the winner could derail Kentucky’ shot in the region.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be a Carolina and Houston final.


Stay connected with Bob Whitney throughout the NCAA Tournament by following @WhitneyBob on Twitter! 

D3 Hoops: The 2018-19 All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Team

ALL NOONTIME TEAM 2019

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops 

Another exciting season of New England D3 basketball has concluded, which means it is time to unveil our end of the year All-Noontime Teams, along with our Coach, Rookie, and Player of the Year, too.

This year’s All-Noontime Team was assembled by our Noontime Basketball committee, which is made up of coaches, media members, and athletic communication directors.

As always, make sure to stay connected with our Noontime Sports basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops. 


NCAA_WBB_Quarterfinal_Bowdon_vs_Ithaca_03-09-19_-_2049-1

For the second-straight season, Bowdoin College women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles guided the Polar Bears to an NCAA “Final Four” appearance. (PHOTO COURTESY: CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)

Coach of the Year: Adrienne Shibles (Bowdoin College): Shibles guided the Polar Bears to the program’s second perfect regular season, along with a repeat appearance in the NCAA Division III “Final Four.” Bowdoin occupied the top spot in multiple polls this winter, including D3Hoops.com and WBCA, and matched the school record for wins (31) in a single-season. Shibles was recently named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year.


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Abby Kelly guided the Polar Bears to its second perfect season in program history this winter. PHOTO COURTESY (CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)

Player of the Year: Abby Kelly (Bowdoin College): The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and D3Hoops.com Northeast Player of the Year guided the Polar Bears back to the NCAA “Final Four” for the second-straight season after averaging 15.4 points per game in 33 contests. Kelly connected on 76.8 percent of her free throws while averaging 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Kelly became the 15th player in program history this winter to reach 1,000 points when she netted a game-high 27 points in a 72-59 win over Colby College in January.


Ryan(3)_Bates

Caleigh Ryan became the second Wesleyan University women’s basketball player to earn NESCAC Rookie of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY: Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan University Athletics)

Rookie of the Year: Caleigh Ryan (Wesleyan University): Ryan became the second Cardinal in program history to be named NESCAC Rookie of the Year after averaging 10.6 points per game in 25 contests, along with 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. The New York, New York native posted double-figures in 12 contests, including 22 points in her team’s regular-season finale against Bowdoin. Ryan also helped Wesleyan qualify for the NESCASC Tournament for the second-straight winter with the Cardinals earning a trip to Amherst College.


All-Noontime Women’s Basketball First Team 

Madeline Eck  Amherst College  Rye, N.Y. 
Abby Kelly  Bowdoin College  Bombay, N.Y.
Kelsi McNamara Saint Joseph’s College West Newbury, Mass.
Jac Knapp Tufts University  Westfield, N.J.
Nakira Examond  UMass Dartmouth New Bedford, Mass.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Second Team 

Hannah Fox  Amherst College  Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Maddie Hasson  Bowdoin College South Portland, Maine
Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda Emmanuel College  South Boston, Mass.
Lauren Bondi Smith College  Burnaby, BC, Can.
Erica DeCandido  Tufts University North Wales, Pa.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Third Team 

Payton Ouimette Babson College  Medfield, Mass.
Taylor Choate Bowdoin College  Nashua, N.H.
Emily Pratt  Endicott College  Gardner, Mass.
Kenzie Worcester Husson University  Washburn, Maine
Kennedy Guest-Pritchett Smith College  Fairburn, Ga.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Rookie Team 

Keagan Dunbar Colby College Middlebury, Vt.
Peyton Perine Curry College  Fairfax, Va.
Christina Antonakakis MIT Holmdel, N.J.
Amina Wiley Mitchell College New Rochelle, N.Y.
Caleigh Ryan  Wesleyan University New York, N.Y. 
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